The fitness industry has come a long way since Jack La Lanne opened the first health club in the US in 1936, and brought weight training into popularity in the 1950’s! Now, you can find a gym around most corners and health and fitness has become part of our American culture. But even with all the advancements in the popularity of the industry, a lot of us still struggle to make health and fitness part of OUR everyday lives. Even as a personal trainer, I find that I need tools to help hold me accountable for my own health and fitness goals. Luckily, with technology, we have so many tools at our disposal to help us in this journey!
One of the first things I have clients do when they begin on their health journey is start a food and exercise journal. I want them to record their physical activity, what they eat everyday and keep up with certain things like calories and sugar intake. In the past this has been a cumbersome task, needing a physical journal that they would need to keep with them all day. The client would also need to be able to read labels and do some math to record the information accurately. And if you didn’t record your meal right away, it was difficult to go back and track it. But with some modern technology, this has become a much easier, and even fun, task!
My favorite app to recommend to clients to use as a journal is MyFitnessPal. The reason I like this app so much is that it’s simple to record your meals because they have a database of foods already. It can do the math for you based on serving size, and you can enter custom food items as well. There is also a social media aspect with this app that can be very useful. The client can decide to share their goals and daily entries with friends and then have cheerleaders to keep up the good work, with me their trainer to help me design custom programming, or competitors if that’s what fuels them to try harder! Clients can also track their physical activity with MyFitnessPal as well, and it will even subtract your calories expended. MyFitnessPal is an overall great app, but especially for those wanting to lose weight. And it’s FREE!
One key element in health and fitness that a lot of people tend to neglect is sleep. And for my clients that want to have all the same benefits of MyFitnessPal, and also track their sleep, I recommend purchasing a fitbit one or a fitbit charge. Both of these have that sleep tracking benefit, along with tracking food and activity all throughout the day. Another benefit of the fitbit is step counting. The client can sync the information with their smartphone and computers to help them see progress. Fitbit is a great tool for anyone wanting to keep track of their daily health and fitness! The only downside is the upfront cost, which is actually pretty minimal.
I love to run, and I have several clients that train for various running events. My go-to recommendation is the NikePlus app! It’s what I use when training for a race, and just for everyday running. I love the layout of this app, and the features are everything I am looking for to improve my runs – track your route, distance, pace, time, and calories. You can also share photos, compare progress and get in-run cheers from friends to help motivate you even more! This is also a FREE app.
Interested in learning to run? A great app for getting that first 5k under your belt is Couch to 5k. This app is around $3, but it is worth it! Brought to you by Active.com, this app will help you spend just 20 to 30 minutes, three times a week, for nine weeks, and you’ll be confident and ready for your first 5k.
So what about overall health? I was just introduced to a company called Oscar Insurance Corporation that offers health insurance in New Jersey and New York, and they provide each one of their members with a Misfit Band to track all their goals with the Oscar app with the ability to earn cash rewards each month! What a great incentive – I mean, who wouldn’t feel motivated with a little cash, right?!
Up until recently, all of my health data was stored in different places. The doctor’s office has your medical records, the different health and fitness apps hold your physical activity record, a personal trainer might have your body measurements, but now, thanks to Apple Health, we can store all of our health and fitness data in one place! Heart rate, calories burned, blood sugar, cholesterol — your health and fitness apps are great at collecting all that data. “The new Health app puts that data in one place, accessible with a tap, giving you a clear and current overview of your health. You can also create an emergency card with important health information — for example, your blood type or allergies — that’s available right from your Lock screen.” – apple.com And other apps, like the NikePlus app syncs directly to your Apple Healthkit. When your health and fitness apps work together, they become more powerful. And you might, too. I am just starting to use Apple Health myself, and I have to say, I recommend it!
So, in this world of constant technological advances, our health and fitness can be at our fingertips all day long. This gives us powerful tools to help us reach those goals and stay on top of our health 365 days a year! What are some of your favorite health and fitness tools that you would add to this list?